Feb 5, 2018

A string of Amtrak crashes brings safety concerns

An Amtrak passenger train derailed off a bridge and onto an interstate highway in Washington state in December. Photo: David Ryder / Bloomberg via Getty Images

A spate of fatal accidents spotlights a struggling rail service, per USA Today's Trevor Hughes.

The big picture: Amtrak has seen three high-profile accidents, which killed a total of 6 people and injured nearly 200, since December. "While all three of Amtrak's most recent crashes [in as many months] appear to have different causes, some critics are calling for changes to the organization's approach to safety."

  • "Amtrak remains popular with riders and lawmakers from both rural and urban areas."
  • "Still, Amtrak ... is under the gun. President Trump has proposed slashing Amtrak's annual subsidy and forcing it to cut unprofitable long-haul trains in favor of services like the Acela."
  • "Railroad advocates point out that trains remain far safer than cars, which killed 37,000 people last year across the country. "

Go deeper

HBCUs are missing from the discussion on venture capital's diversity

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Venture capital is beginning a belated conversation about its dearth of black investors and support of black founders, but hasn't yet turned its attention to the trivial participation of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) as limited partners in funds.

Why it matters: This increases educational and economic inequality, as the vast majority of VC profits go to limited partners.

Unemployment rate falls to 13.3% in May

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 13.3% in May, with 2.5 million jobs gained, the government said on Friday.

Why it matters: The far better-than-expected numbers show a surprising improvement in the job market, which has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The difficulty of calculating the real unemployment rate

Data: U.S. Department of Labor; Note: Initial traditional state claims from the weeks of May 23 and 30, continuing traditional claims from May 23. Initial PUA claims from May 16, 23, and 30, continuing PUA and other programs from May 16; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The shocking May jobs report — with a decline in the unemployment rate to 13.3% and more than 2 million jobs added — destroyed expectations of a much worse economic picture.

Why it matters: Traditional economic reports have failed to keep up with the devastation of the coronavirus pandemic and have made it nearly impossible for researchers to determine the state of the U.S. labor market or the economy.